Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just about ready to kick off its programming partnership with the FX Channel, beginning with the aptly named UFC on FX 1: "Guillard vs. Miller," which goes down tomorrow night (Fri., Jan. 20, 2012) live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Fri., Jan. 20), which is slated to air at 9 p.m. ET on the FX Channel. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6 p.m. ET with the preliminary bouts on FUEL TV.
Leading the charge into "Music City" will be a couple of lightweight standouts looking to get back into the 155-pound title hunt after major setbacks in their respective pursuits. I'm talking, of course, about Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller, who will throw down in the main event to see who's the contender and who's the pretender.
Also getting their hands dirty in Nashville are Pat Barry and Christian Morecraft. "Get Hype' might get told to "get lost" if his account gets deleted by the "World of Morecraft." A loss tomorrow night would mark his third straight and put him at a perilous 3-5 in the UFC.
Lightweight "Dentist" Josh Neer is out to prove all the hype surrounding Duane Ludwig's place in the history books is just that -- history. Which one of these talented strikers will continue to climb the 155-pound ladder?
What the hell is with all these questions?
You want answers and I'm here to give them to you. Like the voice-over says at the 3:05 mark of En Vogue's "My Lovin'" video, now it's time for a breakdown.
After the jump, of course.
Nostradumbass predicts: Is Melvin Guillard one of the most dangerous and explosive strikers in the UFC lightweight division? Hell yes. Is he beating Jim Miller tomorrow night in Nashville? Hell no.
Guillard, to me, is the same fighter he's always been. Great hands and moves quicker than shit off a shovel. But he's at his best when his opponents fight scared and well, let's face it, he's been running roughshod on the middle of the pack, not the elite.
For my money, Miller is the better all-around fighter. He's got power, as evidenced by his knockout win over the Destro-headed Kamal Shalorus. He's also got top-of-the-food-chain submissions, which we saw when he tapped grappling wunderkind Charles Oliveira.
Cardio? He could fight ten rounds without even batting an eyelash.
So what happened against Bendo? Well, he fought a style of fighter that is clearly his kryptonite: Great wrestler, granite chin and damn-near impossible to submit. In other words, he fought a bigger, stronger version of Jim Miller.
Despite his much-improved takedown defense, "The Young Assassin" doesn't meet that criteria.
I also don't like that Guillard abandoned Greg Jackson's ship to swim to the Blackzilian shore. That tells me he's more comfortable around his friends who won't tell him when he's doing wrong. So, expect the same old Melvin come fight night.
With the same old result.
Prediction: Miller def. Guillard via submission
Nostradumbass predicts: Duane Ludwig is suddenly a media darling because Dana White recognized his seven-second knockout over Jonathan Goulet. I know the polite thing to do is stand and applaud, but let's not get too carried away here. Kaipo Kalama pasted "The Road Warrior" in 12 seconds and Mike Swick only needed 33.
My point is that Ludwig's KO record, while deserving of its recognition, does not transform him into Universal Soldier's GR13. This is still the same fighter with 11 losses -- 10 of them being stoppages.
Was I impressed by his performance over Amir Sadollah at UFC on Versus 5? Definitely. But I was equally unimpressed in his split decision win over Nick Osipczak the fight before.
If Neer goes into this thing trying to make it a technical stand-up fight, he gets smoked. But when the hell has "The Dentist" ever done anything technical? He's a gritty brawler and one of the toughest S.O.B.'s in the 155-pound division.
Remember his slugfest against Nate Diaz?
Neer's Achilles heel is his ground game. He can submit off his back, but give him a good wrestler and his survival rate becomes that of a baby seal in Canada. The good news is "Bang" wants to do just that, but it costs him this fight at the end of the third round.
Ludwig will be a slave to form and function, while Neer will be unorthodox and disruptive by design. The result will see a flustered Duane go right down the drain and resurface in front of the judges, who will hand the longtime veteran just the second unanimous decision loss of his career.
Prediction: Neer def. Ludwig via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: Mike Easton is kind of like fellow bantamweight John Dodson -- if "The Magician" could bench-press a Volkswagen. There's a reason they call Easton "The Hulk" and it's not because he wears purple jorts and speaks in fragments.
If you missed his UFC debut, the D.C. native put the screws to Byron Bloodworth last October, stopping his fellow debutant with vicious knees to the body in front of a partisan crowd. I expect him to do the same in tomorrow night's fight, but Papazian should have the mettle to hold on for a decision.
"The Jackhammer" isn't exactly a household name, but he has put up one of the busier fight campaigns in recent years. The knock on Papazian is his penchant for throwing himself at the mercy of the court. His last five contests have gone to the judge's scorecards.
If that happens here, he's a goner.
I favor Easton's wrestling and top control in this bout based on his Herculean strength alone. I don't know how long he can stay in the pocket and remain ahead on points, as Papazian's an accomplished striker.
With that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me to see him give away the opening frame -- only to find his rhythm early in the second stanza and coast from there. Besides, anyone with the chops to beat Doddy has to be doing something right.
Prediction: Easton def. Papazian via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: The UFC is in a tough spot with Pat Barry because he's a fan favorite who has trouble winning fights. When they give him a C-level fighter, he comes out on top, so they move him up to a B-level fighter and he loses. Now he's staring down the barrel of three straight losses and that mean's walking that thin line between loveable and loveable loser.
Fortunately he's become the beneficiary of favorable matchmaking, as Christian Morecraft is a large but lumbering heavyweight who can get beaten to the punch by the stocky kickboxer if -- and that's a big if -- he can fight intelligently.
The danger here is Morecraft's ground game.
While I don't think anyone in Abu Dhabi is breaking a sweat, he's subbed his share of heavyweights. More importantly, he's used three different types of submissions to do it. That tells me he's not just a one-trick pony and that when called upon, he can fire off a fight-ending sub.
Just as Barry can fire off a fight-ending strike.
If "HD" didn't have the ground game of a salted snail, he'd probably be a top ten heavyweight. But for some reason he seems content to just pump iron and violate the heavy bag and see how far it can take him. In this fight, it should be enough, as Morecraft tends to be a little bit on the brittle side once the fists start flying.
I predict Barry maintains his distance, works the legs of the bigger man, and takes home a first round stoppage with a blistering KO. Assuming he doesn't get choked out while going for the kill.
Prediction: Barry def. Morecraft via technical knockout
That's a wrap, folks.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC on FX click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Guillard vs. Miller."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.